Night raids in Afghanistan claiming more lives than officially acknowledged

Controversial night raids in Afghanistan continue to claim civilian lives.

A July United Nations report asserting that only 30 civilians died in targeted raids in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2011 reflected only a very small fraction of night raids in which civilians were killed, according to officials of the independent Afghan commission which had co-produced the 2010 report on civilian casualties with the U.N. Mission.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven Armenta patrols through Qalat City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 9, 2011. (Credit:U.S. Defence Dept) The report on civilian casualties by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) attributed 80 percent of the 1,462 civilian deaths it counted during the six-month period to the Taliban – mostly from improvised explosive devices – and only 14 percent of them to “Pro-Government Forces”.

The report credited the U.S.-NATO military command with reducing civilian casualties in night raids during the six-month period by 15 percent compared with the same period last year.

But officials of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which collaborated with UNAMA on its 2010 civilian casualties report, told IPS that the number of night raids that UNAMA investigated in some fashion could only have been a very small proportion of the total number of targeted raids with civilian casualties.

Common Dreams / Inter Press Service


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